Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Actress and Writer Vanessa Lua

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — (Feb. 27, 2020) — The Hollywood Press Corps got a chance to speak with actress Vanessa Lua. Vanessa can be seen on Season 10 of Shameless on Showtime. Vanessa is an actress, writer and host of WhatTheHellDidSheSay, a YouTube channel where she interviews celebrities.

Vanessa Luia at Yuko Kitchen in the Miracle Mile. Photo by Dustin Brown.

Hollywood Press Corps (HPC): We just saw you on Shameless as Aunt Telma! Please tell us about your experience in shooting this show.
It was an incredible opportunity. I got to work with an amazing cast and crew. They have been together for 10 years now so they are a big family and they were very welcoming to me, specially Ethan Cutcosky (Carl) who was very attentive with everyone, also, there is one scene where I get to sit on with the whole family on the couch and it was my first time meeting Shannola (V) and Steve (“Kevin”) and oh my god Shanola lights the room with her big smile. I love her and both received me with a big hug. I also had the opportunity to shoot in Chicago and it was my first time there. I got to meet John Wells and even share a Mexican candy with him.

Vanessa Lua with William H. Macy on Season 10 of Shameless on Showtime

HPC: What is William H. Macy really like?
Bill was very reserved but kind. He directed the second episode I was on and he did a great job. As an actor he was so good that I just have to react to his energy. I have to tell you I gave him some “chongos Zamoranos” , a Mexican candy handmade from my hometown Zamora. I was so nervous because I didn’t want to bother him and I knew it was my last chance to give it to him so when I got his attention I realized the container broke and it was a mess. I gave it to him, I told him to be careful when he open it and I ran away. We never spoke about it.

Vanessa Lua. Photo by Dustin Brown

HPC: Are you currently writing anything new?
Currently I’m promoting my short film LA DEGOLLADORA that is an official selection at the Pasadena International Film Festival. I wrote it, directed and acted so I am very excited to see it on the big screen. You can join me on Sunday, March 15 at 7:45 PM at Laemmle Playhouse 7. Get your passes at: https://www.pasadenafilmfestival.org

Vanessa Lua (center) in Season 10 of Shameless

HPC: You’re a model who has a connection with Texas. Could you tell us about that?
I’m one of the guest models for Fashion Cited, a charity event that benefits the Legal Hospice of Texas and features a stunning runway fashion presentation highlighting Dallas clothiers and designers.It is such an honor to walk in those beautiful outfits. Being a model was my childhood dream but unfortunately I don’t look like a model (I’m not even tall!) but that shows you that dreams come true. So keep dreaming and help people in need get legal help. You can get your tickets at https://legalhospice.org/events/

Vanessa Lua. Photo by Dustin Brown

HPC: What is your hometown? Could you tell us about it?
I am from Zamora, Michoacan, and you should add it to your next visit to Mexico. The food is amazing! Best tacos, pan dulce, papas cocidas, agues frescas! Zamora is know for the strawberries and “Los dulces del Portal” (that includes the chongos Zamoranos), and it has one of the most beautiful churches ” El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe”. And if you drive 20 minutes north, you will find my favorite place on earth, El Lago de Camecuaro.

Vanessa Lua (R) as Aunt Telma in Shamless on Showtime

HPC: What’s it like to do celebrity interviews on the red carpet for whatthehelldidshesay?
I love my youtube channel WhatTheHellDidSheSay. It is a joy to talk to celebrities, find out how they overcome obstacles and ask them to say something in Spanish. I feel is a way to be a bridge between Hollywood Celebrities and the Latino audience.

Vanessa Lua during her interview with the Hollywood Press Corps

HPC: Do you have a favorite interview from whatthehelldidshesay?
It is so hard to pick a favorite interview, I love them all, they all are so special. Wait, I loved when I interviewed James Cameron and he directed me. I alsoI really enjoy talking to Topher Grace, specially because he retweeted the interview saying “Wait, is this my favorite interview ever?” And of course Josh Radnor who made me choose between a date or an interview. Check out my channel at www.whatthehelldidshesay.com

Vanessa Lua

HPC: What do you hope to achieve in 2020?

I’m currently performing improvised Comedy in Spanish with my troupe Impromundeando. I hope this year we get stronger as a team. All the members are very talented and hardworking and that is very inspiring. This year I want to focus more on my comedy writing, my stand up comedy and maybe a two person play. I also want to focus on my personal growth. I teach a recovery class at K2 CrossFit and that has taught me how important is to take care of your mind and body. I feel that this is a wish list so I am going to throw to win an Emmy out there.

Vanessa at Yuko Kitchen

HPC: What’s one thing that would surprise people to know about you?
I’m terrified of bicycles but I have done several triathlons. I still have my bike hanging on the wall of my studio apartment to remind me that fear might never disappear but that I have defeated it several times.

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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An Interview with actress, musician and former stuntwoman Marneen Lynne Fields

The Hollywood Press Corps got a chance to speak with author, actress, songwriter, producer and stuntwoman Marneen Lynn Fields. Her autobiographical story, “Cartwheels and Halos” explains her story from a tiny town in North Dakota to working in Hollywood.

Hollywood Press Corps (HPC): Please tell us about “Cartwheels and Halos”. This is quite a story.

Cartwheels & Halos: The True Marneen Lynne Fields Story is about my finding God during my darkest days after surviving a near-fatal car accident and a series of life-threatening abdominal operations from 1986-1999. The operations left me living in heights of excruciating pain for twelve years and caused me to loose everything I held dear, especially my career in Hollywood as a top Hollywood stuntwoman and an actress on the brink of becoming a household name. The book has strong themes that when you are on the wrong path, God will take drastic actions in your life to make sure you’re on the right path. For me, I found my right path during this terrible tragedy in the wake of my childhood dreams of always wanting to be a famous singer in life. A dream I’m finally getting the chance to live today.

HPC: What was Hollywood like in 1976?

Great question Dustin, no one has ever asked me that before. For me, the last half of that decade from 1976 to 1979 I was one of the top Hollywood stuntwomen in the world. Wikipedia lists me as this for the 1970s and the 1980s. Being a pioneering stuntwoman in the 1970s everything I performed was without cables or jerk off cables, no airbags, and consisted of me doing high falls, high dives, and other falls from high distances at high speed onto my back and stomach onto the concrete, hardwood floors, dirt roads, shallow ocean water, and break away wooden tables. Sometimes I’d get blankets to fall on or a small twin size mattress, other times I fell in to boxes. The only arsenal was I’d show up for these jobs wearing a little boy’s football girdle, knee pads and elbow pads, that’s it. Safety laws and stunt utility captains were just coming on the scene. But the great news was, I’d get hired, show up and sign my SAG Actor’s contract, perform my stunt and go home, and because I was SAG residuals would flow in. I still get nice residuals today, 44 years later from the primetime TV shows and films I’ve appeared in. But there was also a big Screen Actor’s Guild Strike back in those years, and all SAG talent got cheated out of pay per view and foreign residuals so those have always been smaller, but never-the-less they came in, a luxuory many actors no longer have today with so many buyouts and nonunion work. SAG also invested a portion of my money for me and I came into a nice SAG pension a few years ago.

Backward high fall from the top of the rope in The Spell

HPC: Can you tell us about being a stuntwoman?
For me being a stunt woman meant being in top physical condition at all times. I came from the class one advanced all-around world of intercollegiate competitive gymnastics as the #1 gymnast at Utah State University so I was well-prepared with the demands stunt work would bring when the stunt gates flew open and engulfed every fiber of my being for fifteen years. I was used to working out three hours a day tumbling, running, dancing, lifting weights, stretching, swimming, rope jumping, diving, doing mini and major trampoline work, you name it. Once I became a stunt woman all of those disciplines continued only I now added to them high falls, karate fight scenes, high jumps, prat falls, gun work, roller skating, fencing, snow and water skiing, tennis, mountain climbing, repelling, car work, car hits, stair falls, bicycling, trapeze work, and scuba diving, again, you name it, I trained at least 3 hours a day on all of this and learned new tricks, maneuvers, and sports when required. As Hollywood’s Original Fall Girl I was always put on the front lines performing very strenuous, dexterous, and highly dangerous high falls and high speed stunts. Stunt work also meant my being able to walk, stand, and perform mimicking the actress I’d be doubling and this is where my acting training came in handy. I was taught to sell each stunt with screams and gestures, and when performing stunts it’s very important you keep your face turned away from the camera so the audience perceives the illusion of the actress doing the stunt. As a stunt woman you wear a lot of wigs or get your hair sprayed different colors or cut to match the actresses you’re doubling. Time is spent first thing each day on the set sitting in the make-up trailer getting your hair pinned up so a wig can be attached firmly so it won’t come off during the stunt. I always carried my little boy’s football girdle, knee pads, and elbow pads with me for some padding to land on and help cushion falls. So there I’d stand (usually in high heels), on my mark, breathing heavily, going over and over the scene in my head waiting for the director to call, “Action,” while wearing a tightly pinned wig with my pads under my clothing dressed like the actress. I was incredibly alert and considered a one take wonder able to perform on a dime those years. It was very exciting! But how did I really feel? To be honest with you, I felt like a clown wearing the wigs and pads and high heels with a painted face, always a clown performing in clothes and shoes that weren’t my own, doing falls and fights that could be considered clown like. Nothing wrong with a clown I guess, a clown in a very stressful position protecting life and limb performing the nearly impossible under nearly impossible circumstances.

High fall for Goliath Awaits

HPC: Did being a college gymnast prepare you for stunt work?

Yes, I was discovered in 1976 by legendary stuntman, Paul Stader (Cary Grant’s stunt-double) who owned Paul Stader’s Stunt School because he recognized the champion athlete and gymnast in me. Paul Stader’s belief in my talents was unbelievable, he thought I could do anything, and he was instrumental in getting me, my first twenty-five stunt and stunt-acting roles in films and on prime-time TV shows. Paul single-handedly put me on the map in Hollywood, then several other stunt directors stepped in and took over, J.P. Bill Catching, Roydon Johnson, Dick Butler, and Mickey Gilbert to name a few. These and other stunt coordinators kept me so busy working on every TV series at Universal, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, CBS, MGM, and Paramount that I never had to hustle work.

HPC: How did you get into acting?

I was minoring in Theater Arts at Utah State University while on my gymnastic’s scholarship, so I was already learning the craft of acting. My first stunt job where I fell backwards from the top of a dangling rope in a high school gymnasium on the movie-of-the-week, The Spell was also an acting job. I read for the role of one of mischievous teenagers for casting and also landed the role. From 1976 to 1991, my career involved acting, stunt acting, and stunt roles. I quit doing stunts in 1991 after a near-fatal car accident and have only done acting roles since then. But my life changed forever in 1979 when I met the late, actor-director, Victor French (Lee J. Cobb’s son-in-law), and co-star on two Emmy winning series with Michael Landon, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. Victor was the first celebrity acting coach to take me under his wing and believe in me as an actress. He was a true actor’s actor and director’s director with a strong theater background. Acting was where my heart was, not doing stunts. I also studied with Jeff Corey (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Victor and Jeff and a few other coaches changed my destiny so when I had the car accident and could no longer do stunts I was already making the transition to becoming a serious actress. I’ve been acting for forty-four years, it’s very challenging.

Marneen Fields (L) with Pierre Dulat (R) in the Shadows music video

HPC: How did you get into singing?

Ever since I was a young girl all I ever wanted to be in live was a famous singer. Every song that came on the radio was my favorite song and I would spend countless hours learning every song, practicing it, and singing it, mimicking all famous pop vocalists, and fantasizing what it would be like to be them for just one day. My favorite thing to watch on TV was a show filmimg a woman pouring her heart out in song at the microphone, I found her far more interesting than actresses. After my car accident and the loss of my career and everything I held dear I decided it was time to do what I really wanted to do with my life and that was sing. I got serious about taking vocal lessons and I sat on my bed learning 150 songs hoping if I ever got back on my feet again I’d get the chance to sing. I started doing open mics and cabaret dinner shows in the Los Angeles area, when I first got onto my feet and I could only sing one song and then I’d collapse, that’s how weak I was. Today, I’m finally living my childhood dreams becoming a famous award-winning singer and songwriter.

HPC: How did you become an ASCAP composer producer?

I found out that when you train to become a singer that God gives you the gift of melody and that you have it inside of you to compose songs also. Once again I went back to school taking keyboard lessons, music theory, lyric writing, and pop song composition, and I started writing and composing love ballads. Lyrics would just flow out of me and I’d have to write them down. My process starts with the lyrics first and I’ve created a short nonfiction book that will publish this year titled, Lyrics First: An Organizational Guide to the Craft of Songwriting. Something happens as I write and develop lyrics, they become singable to me, and a melody pours out of me. I’ve been writing brokenhearted lyrics since I was in college, whereas I became a real composer and songwriter in the 1990s. Once I’d written and composed my songs I joined ASCAP. I’m Heavenly Waterfall (ASCAP) and HWSP (BMI) both as a song publisher, and Marneen Lynne Fields writer-composer (ASCAP). I opened Heavenly Waterfall Song Publishing and Productions Company in 2002 to publish my creative works, screenplays, songs, and literary works, and produce them. Today my production company is Heavenly Waterfall Productions.

HPC: You recently became baptized? Could you talk about your relationship with Jesus Christ?

I became baptized on 12/12/1999 after never having been in a church in my entire life. I had a final abdominal operation that December (an operation UCLA doctors would not perform due to the dangers), and I collapsed face-first onto the floor of my apartment upon arriving home. I was sure that was my last breath and I prayed with all my might to Jesus Christ to please not let me die. I chose Jesus because a Christian friend had told me years earlier that only Jesus Christ can heal, and I remembered his words on my last breath. While I was praying (and keep it mind I had already crossed over fighting for my life in these operations and the car accident), sandals appeared before my eyes where I had been kissing the ground and then I saw a hand reach out from spirit and touch my shoulder. I got stronger after that, and the first thing I did was get to church and undergo a Holy baptism. Within a couple of weeks after my baptism, my dear mother who had been missing for nine years was found. I found out by Apostle Faith Eden while sharing my testimony on her show on the OCN Network a few years back that one of the promises of baptism is that your family will be reunited.

Marneen Fields (standing) with Fred MacMurray (L), Olivia de Havilland (C) and Ben Johnson (R) in Irwin Allen’s The Swarm

HPC: Whats new for 2020?

My 5-Star rated, The Illusive Craft of Acting: An Actor’s Preparation Process is publishing worldwide in paperback in all the major book stores. The book is already out in eBook on Amazon and Smashwords. I’m driving two biography books to the finish line this year, Rolling with the Punches: A Souvenir Book Examining the Stunts, Acting, and Music Careers of Marneen Fields; and Cartwheels & Halos: The True Marneen Lynne Fields Story. I’m coming off thirty-eight awards and nominations for my music and my screenplays since 2012, one for my Who’s Gonna Take Care of Me? which won Best Screenplay of the Year 2019 from the Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival. It’s my mom, Ruby Marie Farris-Fields’ true heart-wrenching drama about her survival of nine years of homelessness while battling schizophrenia, a brain lymphoma, breast cancer, and dementia. The screenplay has a potentially Academy Award caliber role for a big star. After Ruby was found and brought home to safety I was able to care for her for thirteen years before her death and she helped write her story. There’s a lot going on with my music and producing 5 new pop-blues, soft rock singles and a few music videos. I’m also holding my first ever fundraiser in 2020 and I’m really looking forward to it. I love giving creative opportunities to other people to help them achieve their goals.

Irwin Allen (L) and Marneen Lynn Fields (R) on the set of The Swarm

HPC: Please tell us about your screenwriting

I started studying scriptwriting and script supervising after my car accident to get close to my love of the craft of acting while disabled. I have several screenplays I’m working on that I look forward to pitching in the future, a couple of TV pilots, the true drama listed above, and a psychological comic-drama feature. I’ve been very close to selling my mom’s true drama, it’s had fifteen requests for reads from some very big names. Now that I have the Best Screenplay win I’m hoping 2020 will be the year it sells or options. I’d really like to do something to help the mentally ill who are homeless and their families with her story.

HPC: Do you have a good story about working with Irwin Allen on “The Swarm”?

Irwin Allen was absolutely amazing to be in the presence of. He was very positive, inspiring, and upbeat despite the tremendous stress he was under. He loved wearing polka dot shirts. I was fortunate to work on two of his disaster films The Swarm, and Beyond the Poseidon Adventure. He told stories about how Alfred Hitchcock directed from his trailer, only walking out to call, “Action!” Then going back into the trailer to watch everything on monitors. In his documentary The Making of the Swarm you see him call me over after my dive out the window, give me a big hug, and tell me, “You did good, Honey, you did good.”

The Illusive Craft of Acting: An Actor’s Preparation Process book cover

HPC: Whats one thing that would surprise people to know about you?

Very hard question. I guess it would be, after my car accident and fighting for my life for twelve years from the abdominal operations I lost the negative emotions that people struggle with. I crossed over to the other side fighting for my life and living in heights of excruciating pain for so many years. I became completely non-materialistic and very spiritual. When I got married to John Harrison who’s an Australian in 2016, I got rid of all of my possesions taking only what I needed to travel back and forth from Australia, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas every two to three months. So far, it’s been a very freeing experience to live like that, I guess time will tell, but I feel, I can always buy more stuff in the future when John and I retire to the United States full time in 2025.

A big thanks to Marneen Lynn Fields for taking time to speak with us. The Hollywood Press Corps looks forward to her next project.

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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Legacy Charitable Foundation

 

The “Legacy Charitable Foundation” held its fifth annual Holiday Masquerade Ball on December 8 at The Majestic Downtown in Los Angeles.

In an effort to support “Echoes of Hope” which serves communities by helping children, youth and young adults in need by eliminating barriers and assisting them to reach their full potential, the Holiday Ball encouraged giving with this event which included, open bar, full sushi bar and catered dinner. Aside from creating awareness, the organization raises funds to bridge the gap between those in need and support the programs that help them strive.

The Legacy Charitable Foundation assists our community by promoting social welfare and supporting other non profit organizations with an emphasis on improving health research such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, homeless assistance organizations, disabled or sick youth, foster youth, education, financial literacy, low income family residences and overall well being of all people that are in need of hope. The evening climaxed with an electrifying performance by CeCe Peniston, (Best known for her hit single “Finally”) and other number one hits.

 

Attendees walking the red carpet included, CeCe Peniston who also performed later in the evening, actress Paloma Movales, actress Chanel Minnifield, Dr. Lisa Masterson of “The Doctors”, comedian Patrick Neal, Pol Atteu and Patrick Simpson of “Gown and Out in Beverly Hills” with their lovable dog “Snow White”, Celeste Thorson of “The Have and Have Nots”, Zack Levy of Legacy Foundation, Abraham Mehrian Chairman of The Legacy Foundation, Giovanna Healy Founder of “Sisters of Strength”, Jennifer Brown Legacy President, Bill Mena board member of Legacy Foundation, Gonzalo Cruz Schiavone board member and Sylvia Valdiva of The Legacy Foundation. Holiday season is a time for reflection and giving and giving they did.

Interview with Pop Sensation Heather LaRose

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Sept. 29, 2017) — The Hollywood Press Corps recently got a chance to speak to musical artist Heather LaRose. Earlier this month, Heather dropped a new track on  all platforms called Mixtape. Mixtape is pop music with a synth/electronic music backdrop. This is fun music that you might listen to at the gym or while driving your car. It’s been about two years since Heathers project “Beachside” came out. We wanted to ask her about her latest project called “Mixtape” and see what she’s been up to lately.

Heather LaRose. Photo by Martin Mendez

Hollywood Press Corps (HPC); Could you tell us a little about Mixtape? How did you select this song for your latest musical release?

(HLR); I wrote Mixtape after my ex liked a photo of mine on Facebook, and then obsessively played a mix CD he made me the summer before. I’ve been writing a lot of new material about so many different experiences and feelings, but Mixtape just felt like the song I wanted to listen to right now. It’s my summer jam: high-energy and optimistic, admittedly a little “extra,” but that’s just who I am!

(HPC); Could you tell us what genre of music Mixtape falls into, in your opinion.

I’d say it’s a modern “Top 40” style pop song, with a slight mix of tropical house. Mixtape differs from my previous record, Beachside in many ways. It still has those recognizable Heather LaRose pop melodies and singalong choruses, but now I know myself a lot better and am writing with a totally confident mentality, which I think really comes through in the music.

(HPC); What’s your songwriting process like? How do you come up with an idea and then record it in the studio?

(HLR); I always seem to get the best new song ideas while I’m driving… there’s something about driving that really frees up your mind – feeling that breeze rushing through your hair while the sun is shining? It’s definitely different every time though: with Mixtape it all started from the moment I got that notification on Facebook, and I just locked myself in my room all day until I finished it. Other times, the chorus or verse will pop into my head and the rest of the song will come to me later. I’m very inspiration driven, and I like to essentially allow the song to write itself.

(HPC); What was it like to work with MTV on your song “New Moon” which was featured on MTV’s show “Teen Wolf”?

(HLR); Pure Teen Wolf magic! I binge watched the third season, and then wrote “New Moon.” I was so honored to hear back from the Music Director and have New Moon featured in the fourth season! And then the Teen Wolf fans are so beautifully intense and interactive, and also gave me a huge boost. They have supported me so much in my career through listening to my music and coming to my shows. I love meeting them at my concerts – they always make really cool posters, it’s awesome!

Bi-coastal Heather LaRose glamming it up on the West Coast(Best Coast). Photo by Pearl and Ash

(HPC); You started in New York’s Westchester area, and now you’re in Los Angeles. What was the transition like?

(HLR); LA is the anti New York, so it’s really funny being out here. People’s personalities are a total 180 from the New York crowd, but I love the artistic community and support here. We all lift each other up and are each other’s friends and fans. It has made the transition much easier knowing I have families on both coasts!

(HPC); Do you have a favorite coast? West coast or East coast?

(HLR); West Coast is the best coast of course! But whenever I’m away from my NY homies I miss them like crazy, but we have these epic snap streaks that go on for months! However, my style of music is totally more West Coast, so it makes sense for me to be out here.

(HPC); Could you talk about your relationship with your mother? Did she help you get to where you are today?

(HLR); My mom is amazing! We are super close – she calls me at least once a day and we talk for hours. She and my father have been my biggest support system throughout my whole life. If I didn’t have their full support about my choices with my career, I would have nothing.

(HPC); It looks like you’ve become quite a social media influencer. How do you use your social media to promote your music?

(HLR); I started out my Instagram posting selfies and promoting shows, and it just expanded from there! My friends all say I talk too much, but I think that really helps with my Instagram account! I love meeting the people who reach out and like my posts. Just last week I met with a group of girls in Manhattan right before a fashion week event I was going to. We had plans to meet up for lunch but I got locked out of the apartment I was staying in so we met up at Union Square’s Forever 21 and they helped me pick out my Fashion Week outfit then grabbed some Chik-fil-A and ran over to the event. Over the years, I’ve become more deliberate about what I post and promote, but I will never stop talking to people who dig my music, fashion, and cool pictures!

Heather LaRose. Photo courtesy Fifth Member

(HPC); Is there any musician that you’ve worked with in the past that you learned a lot from?

(HLR); During High School and college at Lagond Music School, I studied with Darryl Tookes and Paul Maddison. They both helped mold and shape my career and taught me so much about performing and the music business.

(HPC); Is there a musician that you’re looking forward to working with in the future?

(HLR); I would love to produce a song with BloodPop – the remix they did for HAIM is amazing! I’m also super obsessed with Justin Beiber’s new tune “Friends.”

(HPC); You have so many interests and talents. You’re in music, and fashion. Any plans to start your own clothing line?

(HLR); Not just yet. But, I’m trying my hand in designing band merch, so I’m super excited to unveil new tees and maybe some more unexpected items…

(HPC); What’s one thing that would surprise people about you?

(HLR); Growing up I loved catching frogs in my backyard and use to pretend to be Steve Irwin (rip) so when I’m older and have a family I want to host a show on Animal Planet and travel the world teaching people about animals.

Thanks for taking your time to speak with us and our readers! Check out Mixtape on YouTube!

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at HollywoodPressCorps.com.

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